50 Battles That Changed the World
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Rather than celebrating warfare, 50 Battles That Changed the World looks at the clashes the author believes have had the most profound impact on world history. Listed in order of their relevance to the modern world, they range from the ancient past to the present day and span the globe many times over. This book is not so much about military strategy as the implications of the battles that were vital in shaping civilization as we know it. Some of the battles in this book are familiar to us all-Bunker Hill, which prevented the American Revolution from being stillborn, and Marathon, which kept the world's first democracy alive. Others may be less familiar-the naval battle at Diu (on the Indian Coast), which led to the ascendancy of Western Civilization and the discovery of America, and Yarmuk, which made possible the spread of Islam from Morocco to the Philippines.
Alexander quickly put it down. He proved that he could operate the machine his father had invented. The base of the Macedonian military machine was a new kind of phalanx. The Macedonian phalangites had metal helmets and greaves, but no bronze corselets. They had 18-foot long spears called sarissas, instead of the 8-foot Greek spears. They had smaller shields than the huge, bronze-faced hoplite shield and longer swords. They could move faster than the Greek phalangites, and they could maneuver in
Negotiations for a truce began. Brunswick withdrew his army. King Friedrich Wilhelm finally rejected the truce and berated his general, who, if he had moved faster when the French retreated from the passes in the Ardennes, could have ended the war. The war did not end for a long time. Not until after Waterloo. By that time, France had introduced two new ideas to military practice: mass armies and total war. More important, it became the first major European power to adopt democracy. Battle 12
other side of the marsh. It was a daring decision. The dry ground across the marsh was only 200 yards from the English line. If Harold had attacked while only a portion of the Norman army was on dry land, he would have eliminated the second threat. Why he did not is still a mystery. The best laid plans As soon as his army was deployed, William attacked. The plan was for the archers to soften up the English with a barrage of arrows, after which the infantry would break through the English line
in the causeways. He called on all the surrounding Indian Aztec Drawing. nations to help their neighbors, the Aztecs, resist the strangers. The trouble was that the surrounding nations knew their neighbors too well. Most of them wanted nothing to do with the Aztecs. Cortes, using his Indian allies in conjunction with Spanish troops, began striking Aztec-garrisoned towns in all directions. Each success brought him more allies. Cortes had his shipwright, Martin Lopez, build 13 brigantines, which
disagreeable to the Sultan, but they had not made him more compassionate. At Rhodes, the naive young Sultan had a life-altering experience. He would never be the same. His diary records how the bright young man began to change to something much darker. On August 30 he wrote: "The Sultan rides out. Order to the troops to bring in all prisoners to the council tent." On August 31: "The Sultan seated on a throne of gold received the salutations of the viziers and officers; massacre of prisoners. Rain